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Supply chain issues delay construction of new Columbia Falls school

Glacier Gateway Construction
gateway elementary construction
Posted at 4:17 PM, Mar 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-15 18:27:49-04

COLUMBIA FALLS — Construction of the new Glacier Gateway Elementary school in Columbia Falls has hit a snag due to nationwide supply chain issues.

Originally scheduled to be complete come August, Columbia Falls Schools Superintendent Dave Wick said the new school is now expected to be finished months later.

“Started with a permitting delay that we had at the very beginning that put us back about a month, we’ve had delays in the steel structure of the building and getting that steel on site has been a problem,” Wick explained.

gateway elementary construction
Supply chain issues have delayed the construction of the new Glacier Gateway Elementary School in Columbia Falls.

Wick noted a shortage of concrete, weather delays and employee issues with the pandemic have also attributed to the delay, "made it difficult for the construction company to get this done."

The $21.5 million construction project is in progress thanks to a bond approved by Columbia Falls voters back in 2019.

“It’s for 640 student's capacity. Right now we have about 520 students at Glacier Gateway school so, we have room to grow but not quite as much room as we may have originally planned because we’ve been growing since we passed the bond." - Columbia Falls Schools Superintendent Dave Wick

Wick said the new school is being built to last the next 50 years and will feature some much-needed upgrades across the board.

“It has a cafeteria space, we don’t have to have our cafeteria in our gym anymore so, two gyms, it’s just going to be a fantastic facility for our community,” added Wick.

He said the new plan is for the school to be finished in December, with educators moving into the new building over Christmas break.

“We want to make sure we do it right, even though it’s delayed right now, what’s really four months in a 50-year life of a building I guess, we can wait for it to be completed,” said Wick.